Saturday, 11 February 2012

Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


Authors: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 26, 2010
Pages: 276
Genre: contemporary, romance [young adult]


Lily and Dash each spend their Christmas holiday at home without their parents. Lily isn’t the most popular girl in school and she has no experience in love matters. The thought of spending Christmas Eve alone with her brother, without any friends she could invite, saddens her, even more because it’s her favourite festivity. 
So her brother comes up with the idea to find Lily a boyfriend by hiding a Moleskine notebook with some clues at her favourite bookstore. Dash finds it, they start communicating through the book and switch it back and forth until they finally meet in person. Will they get along with each other or will their expectations be too high?


“I wanted to ask her, What does a stranger feel like? Not to be snarky or sarcastic. Because I really wanted to know if there was a difference, if there was a way to become truly knowable, if there wasn’t always something keeping you a stranger, even to the people you weren’t strange to at all.” (p. 194)

“‘I mean, like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly who you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against this girl in your head. So this girl with the red notebook—it makes sense. If you never meet her, she never has to get measured. She can be the girl in your head.’” (p. 130)

“The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go in the physical realm, but they are always there in your heart, because they helped form your heart. There’s no getting over that.” (p. 233)


I was interested in finding out whether and how Lily and Dash would decipher the clues on where the notebook would be hidden next. How their relatives were involved in this whole back-and-forth exchange while the two of them never met in person was quite entertaining. Also, how the book amounts to their final meeting did manage to create a certain tension. Nevertheless, I was not able to set up an emotional bonding to the characters. They remain sort of hollow throughout the whole book and couldn’t touch me enough to make me care for what happens to them.

In some points, the story felt dull and long-drawn-out to me. So what surprised me a bit is that the last third of the book, beginning with Dash and Lily’s coming together, is really good. The incident with the dog Lily has to take for a walk in the park is really funny. This is where the plot finally gains some momentum, where the characters get filled with life; this is what rescued the book for me. 
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is alright for reading in between times, but it certainly did not blow my socks off. The idea with the Moleskine book is simple, but cute and romantic. I just don’t think the authors were able to exploit its full potential. After all, I did enjoy reading it, but I don’t think you’d miss out on much if you don’t pick it up. 


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